The SS-Verfügungstruppe (The Combat Support Force) (short: SS-VT) were combat divisions of the SS, trained to the same way as the normal German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht). They were the precursor of the later-developed Waffen-SS.
History[change | change source]
On 24 September 1934, a special SS military unit was made up by a group of a few other Nazi and paramilitary units like units known as SS Special Detachments (SS-Sonderkommandos) and the Guard known as the (SS-Stabswache) units. The new group was to be trained as combat ready infantry. The unit was called SS-Special Purpose Troops (SS-Verfügungstruppe) and was not the police or the Armed Forces but military trained men for the use by the Führer in war or peace. The SS-Verfügungstruppe (known as SS-VT) was told to the public on 16 March 1935. The SS-VT trained with Hitler’s body guards some of which later joined the SS-VT prior to the invasion of Russia in 1941
Some units of the SS-VT worked with the Wehrmacht during the take over of the Sudetenland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and took part in the invasion of Poland along with the campaign against the Allies in the West. From the regiments that made up the SS-VT came the Waffen-SS (or Armed-SS) Divisions that fought in all German theaters in World War II. Units making up the SS-VT were not known as the "Waffen-SS" until a speech by Adolf Hitler in July 1940.
The Waffen-SS was made up of three smaller groups
- The Hitler's bodyguard (German: Leibstandarte)
- The Death's-Head Battalions (German: Totenkopfverbände) that ran the concentration camps.
- The Combat Support Force, (German: Verfügungstruppe) Up to 39 divisions in World War II that served as elite combat troops fighting with the German army Wehrmacht.
In 1941 the commander of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, said that more Waffen-SS Verfügungstruppe units would be made from non-German foreign nationals. The goal was to get more soldiers from occupied nations. Some of these foreign units included volunteers from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, and the Netherlands.
Countries like Spain, officially a neutral state, had by the end of the war given many volunteers to the Waffen SS (most of them with the SS Wallonien division) that took part in combat until the end of the European war in Berlin. This and many other volunteers of non-German background were believers in the German cause.
References[change | change source]
- Waffen-SS at Encyclopædia Britannica